Writer’s Life: Finding your Motivation

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Sometimes writing, your chosen passion, is the absolute last thing on your to-do list. So how do you push through and find your motivation? Let’s explore some coping skills and strategies to help you squash satiate your whining inner child and get those words flowing again.

I’d be a total hypocrite if I didn’t divulge the following: I’m sitting here writing this blog post and thinking about a thousand other things I’d rather be doing. So, yes, I get it. If you’re like me, you think about stories all day long. While I’m brushing my teeth, driving, cooking, watching Netflix, even while I’m talking to people. My brain is writing. But sometimes, and lately, all the time, getting my butt into a chair and allowing myself to just write is an enormous problem. What to do?

First Motivation: Remember Who You Are 

Yesterday, I took a yoga class and the theme of the class was exactly that, remember who you are. Allow me to be your writer guru for a moment and tell you this–You’re a Writer. You wouldn’t be reading this post if you weren’t. In your head, say it. I’m a writer. 

Can I tell you how long it took me to feel comfortable saying that? Too darn long. I used to feel like a fraud because I didn’t go to college to write. Then, after publishing my third book, I let that shitake go. But I should’ve done it sooner because you know what? It doesn’t matter. The day I committed words to paper, I became a writer. It just took me a while to embrace it, to own the label.

Embrace Who You Are

Here’s your next step, embrace your label–writer. Remember why you do this, it makes you happy. You have stories to tell. Unfortunately, here’s where your inner child loses their cookies. Ready? You have to write to be a writer. Sorry, that’s the truth. 

Adults use logic when talking to a petulant child. They explain the facts. Example: I know you hate going to the store, little one, but we have to go if we want to have food in the house. You like food, right? The same logic applies to writing. You like to write, don’t you? Then you have to sit down and do the work. It’s just that simple.

But I Don’t Want to … Cue the Reward System

When I needed to bring my child to the grocery store and she didn’t want to go, I’d sweeten the deal. Sometimes it was allowing her to pick out a dessert cereal, sometimes, depending on my desperation level, it was cash. You need to figure out your writing reward system. But first, figure out what little things will make you happy. 

For me, it’s the following in no particular order: chocolate, booze, reading fiction, gloomy British crime dramas, and fun stickers. What? I’m a child of the 80s. I love stickers, don’t judge me. So what makes you happy? Make a list of indulgences and then take the next step …

Last Motivation: Set a Goal, a Small One

Deep breaths. I’m sensing some tension. Let it go. You can do this. Just like Charlie Brown, you need involvement. If the thought of writing a whole novel has you running for the couch, start a heck of a lot smaller. The following is a list of some small motivation goals because remember, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Today I will:

  • Write 3 sentences.
  • Outline one scene with just 4 bullet points.
  • Write a short paragraph explaining what my main character did before breakfast. (Note: this is super helpful in character development).
  • For future reference, I will look on Google and find 3 photos of a setting I’m thinking of using. 

**For some other distractions to help get you back into the writing groove, check out this post.

Do you have a topic you would like us to cover? Let us know about your suggestion. 


About Author

Heather Rigney is a fiction writer, blogger, journalist, and art teacher based in Rhode Island. Author of The Merrow Trilogy--a dark, historical fantasy novel that deals with homicidal mermaids, the colonial suppression of women, and a present-day alcoholic funeral director trying to make sense of it all. Her writing has been featured in Motif Magazine and Stone Crowns Magazine. By day she teaches art at an all-girls Quaker school and at night she tries to be creative while avoiding too many sweets. You can read more about Ms. Rigney on her website: www.heatherrigney.com

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